Phoenix Swimming Pool Drowning Attorneys
What You Should Learn About Liability in Drowning Accidents
Swimming pools are everywhere and it's no wonder. They not only increase the value of your home, but they're a fun addition to have for your family and friends. Parties abound in summer months and even in the cooler months as long as the weather is good in Arizona. Swimming pools are popular, but the dangers are often overlooked.
Pool owners, you have an increased risk of liability for those who swim in your pool. It is especially important for owners to be cautious when children are around the pool - eyes have to be on the children at all times. When a party is taking place, there should be a person appointed to watch the pool. If that person needs a break, ask another person to take over for them. Never assume that someone is watching the pool just because they are at or near the pool. An adult has to specifically be in charge of watching the children, as a child can drown in a matter of seconds.
If you own a swimming pool in Arizona, you are legally responsible for creating a safe environment around your pool and for keeping it that way. There are a number of measures that you are required to take to ensure that people who use your pool, and people who live near you and could access your pool or its immediate area, are kept safe at all times. Consider the following requirements of law for pool owners:
- Per state requirement, ground-level pools must be surrounded by a fence with a self-latching gate to deny direct and easy access to the water. This helps keep little kids in your neighborhood from falling into your pool by accident.
- You are responsible for educating anyone with a child under the age of 7 who purchases your home on the basics of safety for a swimming pool. The same is true if you lease out your home.
- You are responsible for providing supervision to children and other users of your swimming pool to ensure that unsafe actions are not taken in and around the swimming pool.
- It is up to you have appropriate life-saving equipment and insurance for your pool, just in case. Most pool owners elect to purchase at least one million dollars in insurance for liability connected with their swimming pools. This means that if someone is injured and files a claim against you, you will have insurance coverage up to that amount.
Drowning can occur even at the most laid-back pool party. Many times this happens at the family barbecue or Labor Day party. Children may drown because pool owners relax around their own pool and let their guard down. A pool owner can never relax when having guests over. The most common situations you should always be on the lookout for include:
- Small children in and around the swimming pool. You should never leave small children unattended near the swimming pool and you should never leave groups of teenagers or other young children to play on their own, even if they all know how to swim well.
- Horsing around is a big no-no. Playing games that involve pushing someone into the pool, doing tricks on a diving board, or throwing people while in the pool are all surefire ways to cause an accident that could lead to drowning, among other injuries.
- Running in the pool area. Running in the pool area is related to a large number of slip-and-fall accidents that end in drowning. Don't allow it at your pool.
- Drinking and swimming combined. When you combine too much alcohol with any activity, you will find that the level of risk increase exponentially. Alcohol makes people less observant, and less careful. If the person supposed to be watching the children is given alcohol, that’s a recipe for disaster.
- Trusting flotation devices. Sometimes, parents or caregivers think that as long as the child has a flotation device, he or she can’t drown. That’s far from the truth. The only way to make sure a child is safe is by watching vigilantly.
It's not easy to prevent accidents. But pool owners must understand the risks, avoid risky behaviors, and do whatever they can to keep everyone in the water safe. Drowning can be prevented with reasonable care on the part of the pool owner!
The Husband and Wife Law Team strongly recommends that you visit our partner, PoolSafely.gov, for tips on the best pool practices for your family.
Drowning does not resemble what we see in the movie theaters. It never involves splashing and yelling; instead, it is quiet and calm and almost imperceptible.
The responsible adults must watch for children who have their heads low in the water, with their mouths barely above water level. Often, victims tilts their heads back to keep the mouth from being submerged. Eyes are often blank and unable to focus, or completely closed. Victims don’t have the strength to wipe hair away from their faces or eyes, and they are often gasping instead of calling for help. Some look as if they are trying to climb a ladder out of the water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, for every child who drowns, another four children will require emergency medical treatment for near-drowning injuries. Drowning only takes a minute or two. Water penetrates the lungs, prevents breathing, and decreases the amount of oxygen to the blood. After four minutes without oxygen, brain cells die, and irreversible brain damage develops. The severity of injuries will depend on several factors, including the temperature of the water, the length of time submerged, and the amount of water inhaled into the lungs. At least one-third of near-drowning survivors will sustain a certain amount of brain damage.
This can put a great deal of emotional stress on the victim’s entire family. Financially, the family will incur costs associated with emergency care, treatment, rehabilitation, accommodations, and therapies such as cognitive, speech, occupational, and recreational. Because pool owners are responsible for ensuring all guests’ safety, a personal injury claim may be filed against their insurance. An attorney can help a victim’s family do this and ease the strain this unfortunate event has thrust on everyone. You can seek compensation for any of the following damages:
- Current medical bills
- Costs of future medical treatment
- Costs of continuing cognitive and physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- In-home care equipment (such as hospital beds, oxygen, etc.)
- Household and vehicle modifications, if needed
- Private nurse care
- Lost wages (if you miss work to care for the victim or have to quit work to care for the victim)
- Hedonic damages for loss of joy of life
- Punitive damages
Facing a future with a disabled family member is always difficult, but an adequate financial settlement can make life easier for everyone involved. Alexis and Mark Breyer, The Husband and Wife Law Team, have vast experience in cases of brain damage from drowning, and they have had many successful outcomes. Our Phoenix brain injury attorneys provide guidance that is supportive and reassuring, focusing on the family’s needs.
We are confident in our skills in this field of expertise, and we do not charge any attorney fees unless we make a recovery on behalf of our client. We will guide you through the legal process so that you and your family can focus on adjusting to the changes in your life. Call us today at (602) 267-1280 to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your case.